Shoe Carnival reported a 4.3 percent increase in net sales to $232.3 million for the first quarter ended May 4, driven by a net increase of 27 stores over the first quarter last year. On a comparable store basis, sales were down by 0.8 percent. Net income decreased to $9.5 million, as compared to $11 million in the first quarter a year ago. The first quarter was challenging due to colder and wetter weather through March than in the same period a year earlier. The sales trend considerably improved in April with the arrival of warm weather, which helped the company mitigate the decline in comparable store sales for the quarter. The company said that both sales and earnings at the end of the quarter were above expectations.

The gross profit margin for the first quarter of fiscal 2013 decreased to 29.5 percent from 30.8 percent in the first quarter of fiscal 2012. Selling, general and administrative expenses rose to 22.9 percent as a percentage of sales compared with 22.7 percent, primarily due the increased number of stores.

The outlook for the full financial year remains optimistic in consideration of the positive sales trend experienced in the later part of the first quarter, which is continuing today across all departments. The ongoing positive performance of the company's athletic categories, on top of a strong performance in 2012, is a particularly good indicator in view of the back-to-school season. The company expects to open 33 new stores and close five others in fiscal 2013. As of May 23, the U.S. footwear retailer, headquartered in Evansville, Indiana, operated 363 stores in 32 states.